The CW, PTC Spar Over 90210 Scene

The CW said Friday that advertisers were aware of the content of its new take on iconic teen drama 90210and that the suggestion that the network edited a sexy scene “into” the show to pull one over on those advertisers was “ridiculous.”

That suggestion came from the Parents Television Council, which said it was going to contact all of the advertisers in the show to express the group's unhappiness with scenes suggesting oral sex among high-school kids, "glamorized" underage drinking, "profanity and pornography."

The PTC said it didn't think the show violated Federal Communications Commission indecency standards, however.

The PTC theorized that advertisers may not have been fully aware of the content of the show, including the oral-sex scene, pointing to press reports that The CW might have edited in the sex scene to boost the audience.

The CW said this was not the case.

"For the record, 90210 was screened in advance of broadcast through the customary advertiser-screening service," the network said in a statement. "In addition, the suggestion that we edited controversial material into the show at the last minute is as ridiculous as it is inaccurate."

The CW did not make a screener available to reviewers before the show debuted Sept. 2 -- usually a tip-off that a network expects bad reviews. But The CW said at the time that this was done simply to spur more interest in the show’s unveiling. It appears to have worked: The show was the most-watched series premiere in the network's history.

The PTC has a range of responses to TV fare it dislikes, from warning parents to contacting advertisers to complaining at the FCC. The PTC’s Megan Franko said the group is focusing on advertisers and "network responsibility," adding, "We aren't asking members to file indecency complaints because PTC didn't feel it crossed that line.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.